Air India Express gets delivery of their first Boeing 737 MAX aircraft

Earlier in 2023, Air India, on a group level, ordered 470 aircraft from Boeing and Airbus towards their expansion plans. The order book included 190 737 MAX Aircraft and 50 Options.

Air India Express gets delivery of its first Boeing 737 MAX.

A significant part of the orders for Air India Express were not-taken-up aircraft from Boeing, which were originally assembled for other carriers, presumably Chinese. Since China was delaying the removal of the grounding from the MAX aircraft, Boeing decided to offer these aircraft to other airlines, perhaps at a very sweet price. Air India’s first few 737 MAX aircraft will be those that were manufactured for other carriers but are now being delivered to Air India / Express. The number could go up to 50-55 as well.

Previously, Akasa has taken aircraft assembled for Jet Airways and other airlines, and Southwest has taken aircraft assembled for SpiceJet and so on. It is a prevalent practice in the industry that while aircraft are manufactured for certain airlines when these airlines are unable to take delivery of their aircraft due to various reasons (technical or financial), they are passed on to other airlines who want to take them, perhaps with a financial incentive from the OEM.

Boeing has been preparing two such aircraft for delivery for Air India Express, and the first such aircraft was delivered to the team from Air India Express at the Boeing facilities in Washington, USA, on September 27, 2023. This aircraft produced 4.4 years ago for Shanghai Airlines, will fly away on September 27, 2023, and will be registered as VT-BXA when operating in India.

Air India Express' First 737-MAX (Image Courtesy:AIESL)

Air India Express’ First 737-MAX (Image Courtesy: AIESL)

a group of men in reflective vests standing in front of a plane

Air India Express’ First 737-MAX (Image Courtesy: AIESL)

As you can note, the aircraft is still being delivered in its old livery, as it will fly to Hyderabad (via Reykjavík and Kuwait City), where it will be given its paint job in the new livery of Air India Express (being kept under wraps for now). It could be the case that Air India Express could not secure an urgent slot at another paint shop in the west, or the airline intended to contain the leak on its new livery by getting it painted closer home. The jet was initially configured in an 8 Business and 168 Economy class configuration; however, it should be reconfigured before being put into service for AIX.

VT-BXD, the second 737 – 8 jet prepared for Air India Express Delivery, will follow shortly after (in a couple of days). This jet is a 2.1-year-old jet, assembled initially for China Eastern Airlines.

Air India’s CMD, Campbell Wilson, recently remarked that Air India Express will become the primary workhorse of domestic expansion for the airline group in India.


Air India Express has received its first Boeing 737-8 jet from Boeing at Everett and will also receive the second one before the end of September 2023. These jets will be flown to India on a two-stop route and, after delivery, will be painted in Hyderabad to be set for the reveal of the new livery of Air India Express in the coming days. Another 188 jets will follow.

What do you make of the aggressive plans to expand Air India Express across India?

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About Ajay

Ajay Awtaney is the Founder and Editor of Live From A Lounge (LFAL), a pioneering digital platform renowned for publishing news and views about aviation, hotels, passenger experience, loyalty programs, travel trends and frequent travel tips for the Global Indian. He is considered the Indian authority on business travel, luxury travel, frequent flyer miles, loyalty credit cards and travel for Indians around the globe. Ajay is a frequent contributor and commentator on the media as well, including ET Now, BBC, CNBC TV18, NDTV, Conde Nast Traveller and many other outlets.

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